This story follows on from The Governor’s Wife
Hatches have been battened, sails have been furled. There is even less to entertain her than usual; the crew are universally tight-lipped and tense, paying her little regard as they attend to their foul-weather preparations. Her presence on deck went unnoticed despite her languorous touching of masts and rails, her speculative glances at ropes and cleats. Has she become invisible since the storm warning was sounded? Eclipsed by Mother Nature, she feels even more superfluous than ever, unable to contribute more than ornamentation to which the sailors are oblivious, she retires to her dark cabin and broods.
A knock at the door draws her from introspection to surprise. It’s the Captain, that dear stuffy old fellow whose habitual frown has deepened and whose manner is even more abstracted than usual. A storm, he tells her, is approaching. A dangerous, wild freak of a storm which is too fast to outrun and too wide to evade. The going will be rough. She must remain in her cabin, tie herself into her bunk to prevent injury. He hands her a coil of rope, tips his hat and bustles away to see to the infinitely more valuable cargo stashed in the hold.
She laughs to herself. Tied to her bunk? Why, her fantasies are coming true at last! Her laughter is tinged with bitterness. What pleasure is there in being alone with a rope and a bed, no eager watchers beyond the door, no performance to indulge in?
The ship is beginning to pitch more violently among the roughening waves. Outside the thick glass of her cabin window, the sky is darkening, and from overhead there are many more footsteps then usual. All hands on deck – except hers.
Glum, she sits on the edge of her bunk and toys with the rope the Captain left with her. She is half-tempted to ignore his advice and ride out the storm on her feet but the increasingly alarming angles of the deck beneath her and the glint of alarm in the old seafarer’s eye assert reason over petulance.
How then, to secure herself against injury as the ship rolls and shudders around her? She must lie flat in her bunk, of course. Face-down, she decides, reasoning to herself that this should reduce any discomfort that the violence of the ship’s motion may induce.
She begins with her ankles, pulling the rope around them until they are pinned together. The rough fibre chafes against her skin rather deliciously – despite her dissatisfaction with the current situation, a warmth is beginning to spread within her. She regards her bindings with greater interest. Perhaps there is pleasure to be found here, even in self-restraint for safety’s sake.
Looping the rope underneath her bunk and back to cross over her thighs brings her even greater delight. The tight, thick twists enhance her curved outline more poignantly than any bustle or fabric could achieve; her delicate figure enhanced by the brutal pragmatism of her restraints. She adds some wholly unnecessary but pleasing knots – the opportune location of one in particular being both visually and sensually appealing.
There is enough rope to bind her breasts, so she does; drawing in a shocked breath at the visceral sensations her precautions are bringing forth. She is careful to allow herself enough slack for small movements; she has no intention of being found later, ignominiously suffocated or without the use of blood-starved limbs. While the notion excites her greatly, there is too much risk in the encirclement of her throat to allow herself this indulgence.
She fashions cuffs for her hands at the top of the bunk and eases them around her wrists. She is ready.
As the storm howls about the masts, lashes the crew with driving rain and wrings groans from the timbers of the hull, she lies in darkness and adds her own voice to the maelstrom. Softly she sighs and scolds herself for her wantonness and immodesty. Slut she calls herself, and harlot and whore. Far from subduing her lust, these words only excite her more. She rocks her hips to grind the well-placed knot against herself, faster and wilder as the sensations overwhelm and claim her, shuddering against her bonds again and again until the discomfort of their hold is subsumed into yet another helplessly frenzied climax. The storm is within her; she is an elemental part of it, raging and howling with the wind, bucking and writhing with the waves, a force of nature without mind or design. By the time the sky begins to lighten and the sails can be unfurled to tame the now-sedate breeze, she is adrift and becalmed, lulled to sleep by the lapping waves, spent and sated.
Later, she examines the rope-marks with delight. Covered as they are by her clothing, she can nonetheless feel them with every movement, her secret pleasure dispelling any trace of her previous sullen boredom. She has forgotten, for the moment, all about pirates.